Moths Beat Themselves to Death Against the Lights

Natalia Mujadzic, Stephen F. Austin State University

You had maggots squirming
where your eyeballs should’ve been,
and you were missing more teeth
than any man of twenty-six I’d ever met,
but I focused my eyes on your perfect nose
and listened when you spoke, because your steady
voice surprised me. I asked what happened,
you said what happens to all of us,
and I left it at that.

You didn’t scare me. I watched
my own body cloaked in your deteriorating
skin in my sleep for the last four years.
You wore yours like a shell. We sat
on train tracks waiting for the slow-
approaching hum of a locomotive, ran red lights
every chance we got. You shook with adrenaline
and told me you saw scars on my cheeks.
I said bullshit.

After weeks of chasing oxycodone
with vodka, bridge jumping, and hugging
your back while you sped up to 120 on I-80,
fragments of your perfect nose vanished
until you were left with two flat holes for breathing.
When I asked, you smiled. You’re losing it, kid. I never
got your name or a goodbye when one quiet July night
something ceased blood flow to your brain,
and you slipped into oblivion, safely home.

Natalia Mujadzic is currently studying Creative Writing at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, and her work has appeared in HUMID, SFASU’s undergraduate literary journal.